10th October 2019|
Bridget du Toit from QuickBooks: Switching to QuickBooks Online made easy
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- “Before QuickBooks I dreaded the accounting side of my business. Now I can get everything done in minutes and spend time doing what I love.”
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This newsletter is based on an interview I had with Bridget du Toit, Head of Services, Easybiz Technologies, Authorized Intuit QuickBooks local partner in South Africa. We discussed how you can simplify the switch to QuickBooks Online.
The interview was aired on Impact Radio 103FM on 7 October 2019. You can access the recording and previous recordings at www.a4e.co.za.
ROBERT JEWELL: This is all about our listeners and our users, Bridget. I just want to repeat the stats because it’s mind-blowing the size of QuickBooks and your reach. You have 5.6 million customers globally. Bridget, that’s an awful amount of customers.
BRIDGET DU TOIT: It’s a lot. We are still amazed and humbled by the amount of people that have chosen QuickBooks because there’s so many competitors out there. It just reads to the fact that we are so easy to use, so service driven. Obviously, 5.6 million people can’t be wrong worldwide, right?
ROBERT JEWELL: That’s great statistics. Let’s start with a great quote from one of your users, Ash Reed, who says: “Before QuickBooks I dreaded the accounting side of my business. Now I can get everything done in minutes and spend time doing what I love.”
Today we’re focusing on QuickBooks online, Bridget. It’s really taking off, almost like a small tsunami, you would say?
BRIDGET DU TOIT: It’s true. It’s been quite a whirlwind. We only launched QuickBooks online in South Africa less than a year and a half ago. We’ve had a 256% growth in that period of time, which is just an insane figure for the economy in South Africa. But it shows that there are more and more people daily, which is exactly what we want in South Africa, starting businesses, becoming little entrepreneurs.
The thing with an entrepreneur is that they’ve got a great business idea. They are fabulous in their own fields and expertise in the market or the idea that they have. But they’re not necessarily accountant driven. What we try and do is we give them the tools so that they know exactly what they do and how they’re doing and all at a click of a button. They don’t have to worry too much about whether they are solvent or not.
It gives them figures and facts and reports as to where they should focus their energy. What’s selling well, what’s doing well what’s not doing so well? Where should we run some specials? Where should we actually stock that line item, etc. Those facts just speak for themselves. The fact is that people are daily signing up for QuickBooks Online.
ROBERT JEWELL: I saw some great stats a while back. When I say they were great stats they were actually frightening stats. It was a survey done in South Africa about the cost to small and medium business of compliance and the cost of administration and trying to comply with tax laws. This is what QuickBooks Online is about. It’s about making it really simple to keep a full and informative set of books.
BRIDGET DU TOIT: Absolutely correct. Back in the old day you’d have to save up money in the business or save to start a business, because you had so many upfront costs. For example, on the accounting side you not only had to buy good hardware but you had to buy the program, the desktop program. You’d have to pay annually for that program. You’d have to pay for the accountant to come out to your premises to do the monthly books, the statements, the yearly reviews etc.
Now with online, all you have to do is sign up. You can even use your cell phone now. You no longer necessarily need all that clunky hardware. It reduces the costs and the running costs and the set-up costs of businesses, which really is what the empowerment program, is all about in South Africa. It’s just to get people to run with a great idea and start a business. And start becoming a part of the solution and not part of the problem in South Africa.
You just pay a small monthly fee and Bob’s your Charley. You’ve got access to all your financials. What more could someone actually want or ask for?
ROBERT JEWELL: Perhaps the most frightening stats in that survey was that we’re quick to measure the cost of software and hardware. What is critical and what doesn’t get measured is the cost of the entrepreneur’s time and the cost of errors.
I’ve got a great example where there was this client who was using Excel. He would spend hours every month trying to capture the transactions into Excel. He didn’t only sell for cash, he also sold on credit and he sometimes took deposits. Excel doesn’t handle that terribly well. To cut a long story short, we actually showed him that because of the way he was keeping his Excel spreadsheet he actually overpaid VAT.
Now you take the cost of all his time spent trying to keep books of his business on Excel. Instead of getting out there marketing and mixing with his customers and growing his business, he’s focusing internally on these spreadsheets which weren’t correct and accurate in any case. That’s really not a win-win situation.
BRIDGET DU TOIT: For sure. I couldn’t agree with you more, Robert, you’ve hit the nail on the head. We’ve actually done surveys, worldwide surveys, and it’s proven that QuickBooks, as an online solution, saves at least eight hours a week for the entrepreneur. It’s a lot of time. As you say, you could be spending time doing your expertise where you’re good at instead of sitting trying to crunch numbers and trying to see if you’re making the right decisions financially in your business.
At the click of a button those reports are done for you now. QuickBooks Online let’s you spend your time and your efforts and your energy doing what’s going to make the business grow. It really is a no-brainer. Technology is driving business these days, gone are the days of yore, for want of a better word, where you sat with spreadsheets and you worked on Excel.
ROBERT JEWELL: I think it’s really encapsulated in another quote on your Website and that is from Amanda of Barking Mad which I just think is a great name for a business. She says: “We used the QuickBooks App when we’re visiting customers. We can now send a quote or invoice on the spot.” That is like barking mad!
BRIDGET DU TOIT: Absolutely. You see it’s all about time isn’t it? The fact of the matter is, back in the day you’d go to a customer, you do your job, you’d go back to the office, and you’d then do the invoice. You’d send the invoice and then you’d have to wait for payment. It was about cash flows and we all know business is about cash flow. Now you’re actually at the customer, you send your invoice.
They can actually pay you right then and there. Before you leave you’ve actually got the money in the bank. Which three, four years ago was kind of unheard of. Your cash, your books are balanced, I mean it’s just as you say a win-win-win.
ROBERT JEWELL: Let’s focus a bit today on the potential customer who’s a bit scared about technology. And about the on boarding process and what they can do to make it easier to switch to QuickBooks online. Let’s start with just, is there any planning that they can do for this?
BRIDGET DU TOIT: The beauty of online is that you go online. You click a few little clicks and you’re up and running. There’s no installation of hardware and software and discs etc. The most important thing with an on boarding process of online is remembering your email address, that is vitally important. We all remember our email addresses. They’re easier to remember than all our passwords, aren’t they?
The other concern that customers might have, that we encounter daily, is that they worry about the data they’ve got. They want that to be migrated across into their new system. Say for example they’re working on Excel or they’re working on a competitive product. The beauty of QuickBooks Online is that we actually at EasyBiz assist with all of that. At no charge. We bring your financials across for you, which is really very powerful.
You’ve got your history. So many people want to look at the prior year to see year on year how they’re doing and how they’re performing. You don’t lose that when you move onto the online system. A lot of people think that if they’re moving from desktop to online, they’re going to lose everything that they’ve accumulated but this is a myth. I’d just like to dispel that myth right now. Migrations, they occur. However customers can start afresh on online and they keep their old software separate. They just use it for looking back just to look something up. Obviously, if a customer is insistent on moving their data across, we’ve got the facility to help out. It really is that simple. We have customers that are up and running within literally five minutes.
ROBERT JEWELL: Awesome. Bridget, I’ve got an awesome example of just maybe a bit of hesitancy by a small business owner in terms of implementing accounting. The circumstances are that this person actually has a desktop-based accounting package, but mainly uses spreadsheets for most data capture. They have a February year end. The plan was to do their financial statements in May. We would then have the opening balances at 1 March and then we would go into processing, to converting their data and starting to get them to capture and process the data on the accounting package as opposed to spreadsheets. To cut a long story short, that never happened and we’re now sitting in October and they’re still using spreadsheets.
BRIDGET DU TOIT: No way.
ROBERT JEWELL: Let’s talk, Bridget, about timing. Some people might think I’ve got to wait till the end of the financial year before I go online because that’s a good time to change. I’ve got to wait till my accountant is finished with my books. But it really doesn’t need to work like that, does it?
BRIDGET DU TOIT: Not at all. You’ve hit the nail on the head. That is what so many think. I think it’s more about a procrastination thing. You get used to doing what you do and it almost becomes like a safety blanket. When we ask people to move to say an online product, to move to a different product, it takes people out of their comfort zones. It’s understandable, we’re all humans and we all like to do things the way we’ve been doing them.
The truth is that the timing is completely irrelevant as to when you move across. In fact, the sooner you do it the better. We take you on a journey very, very swiftly and very quickly on the how to do things in the program. There are online tutorials, there’s buttons in the program. There’s a certification training that you can come on at any one of our major cities that EasyBiz runs for you.
There are so many options and there are so many ways that you can learn the program. It’s not necessary for you to be at the end of month or at the end of the financial year. That’s such an old fallacy because it’s just not true anymore. You just get up and running and off you go. The one thing that we do encourage, is that we like the accountant to go on the journey with them. What we do is in the program you’ve got a button that says invite my accountant.
When we get a new customer and that customer is on an alternate product or the accountant is still using spreadsheets, bless them. Then what we do is, we do a conversation with the accountant and we pull the accountant along on the journey with us. Because we find that it is extremely important that there is a great relationship between the customer and the accountant. The accountant is so important.
I mean, we all know how important accountants are in a business, it’s actually ridiculous. We hold the accountant’s hand. There’s absolutely no charge for an accountant. We help them in every single step of the way so they can add more value to the end user.
ROBERT JEWELL: And the great thing also about it being online is that if you’re not online, if you’re not using QuickBooks online, well how is your accountant actually going to help you? We’ve got a situation where there’s a customer who’s not using an online product. But they have a unique situation although these days with the proliferation of working from home and all kinds of things, it’s not so unique. The financial director works from home.
The part time bookkeeper works from his premises and the business is somewhere else. What they do with their desktop accounting program is they take backups, then cart these backups off to the next person and that person works with it. That person then takes backups and carts it off to the next person, so it means that while this is all happening the 1st person can’t process. It means your invoicing gets held up, that is so dinosaur!
BRIDGET DU TOIT: It really is. I love that, dinosaur, it is. Because now all you have to do is say: “Mr Accountant or Mrs Accountant, here’s my data do what you need to do.” The accountant just gets access, login right and off they go. They don’t even have to get in their car, never mind do backups. The backups are taken care of for you in the background.
You don’t even know they’re happening. You’re hundred percent right. I mean, accountants, once they see the light of online, they absolutely fall in love. But it’s just to get them to move from their clunky, as you say, dinosaur, ways to these new funky, awesome, trendy ways.
ROBERT JEWELL: Well, we’ve also moved from the dinosaur age at Accounting for Entrepreneurs and fallen in love with QuickBooks Online.
BRIDGET DU TOIT: Well done. You’re one of the many that have made the right move and I know you love it, it’s wonderful.
ROBERT JEWELL: What’s good to get organised or to make it, from the user point of view, a bit of a smooth process?
BRIDGET DU TOIT: There’s lots of tips or tricks that I could give. It’s very hard to highlight one or two. My first instinct would be to say the biggest tip is to just make the decision to go online. I know it sounds so easy, but we know it’s difficult. Know that there’s a backup team sitting here, just one phone call away to help you out. To show you were to click, to show you how to do it.
The other tip that I can give is to find an accountant that’s going to journey with you on this new endeavor.
Those will be my top two tips to make the plunge, you won’t be sorry.
ROBERT JEWELL: Thank you, Bridget, for sharing with our listeners your great tips on how they can simplify the switch to QuickBooks Online and join the 5.6 million QuickBooks users globally who are getting their business accounting done in minutes and spending the time doing what they love. How do our listeners get in touch with you, Bridget?
BRIDGET DU TOIT: The best way to get in touch with us is through our Website which is www.easybiztech.co.za. Or they can contact us telephonically, I have a team of business development managers just waiting for their call and that’s 010 203 4300.
ROBERT JEWELL: Bridget, QuickBooks have also joined Accounting for Entrepreneurs as our accounting software partner in the Hoola Africa Hoola entrepreneurial challenge in January. If any of our users want to join this challenge, there’s an application process. They should SMS “quick” to 34350 and a consultant will get in touch with you. Thanks very much, Bridget, for being on the show.
BRIDGET DU TOIT: Thank you so much we’re really looking forward to partnering even more with you in the future. Thanks, Robert.
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